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Old 05-26-2019, 02:27 PM   #52
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Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by Retro Audio Enthusiast View Post
It's easier for me, (old-school musician who writes music, plays guitar and is happy with getting analog sounds) to read a few reliable sources on what are the best methods and practices. -18dB was one thing that stuck in my mind and I've used it since and it sounds fine to me.

Then, along come different options that tell me in fact, none of it matters, gain-staging - don't bother with it and just record it in the red until it clips...

So, what in fact is the best method/practice ? Is there an optimal level to record at or are you guys just debating academic technical details ?
Recording and mixing are different deals.

When you record, don't clip. That's about it, really. There is no fixing audio that has been clipped while recording. If you are recording in 24 bit, which you should always do, then it is actually pretty hard to record a signal that is too quiet (unless you are doing field recordings of distant nature sounds or something, then you start to battle with the noise of your mic preamps).

Once that audio is in REAPER though, you can't break it. As long as your master output isn't clipping when you render to your final file, it's all good*. If emulation plugins are sounding too distorted, turn down their input or turn up the input level calibration if the plugin has that. If you aren't getting enough grit from an emulation plugin, turn up the input on it or turn down the input level calibration.

It really is that simple.

* You can have every track hitting red clip lights, it doesn't matter. You can turn that level down on your master and the audio will be fine.
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